Burger King Bob Ross

he’s a vague twentysomething lookalike,
just spitting distance from the spitting image,
but it’s fun to pretend he’s the real thing,
with his waves of chestnut curls
spiraled around his face,
illuminated from within by a contented grin,
as he flips burgers,
wielding a frying pan deftly
as though it were a paintbrush,
beatifically admiring his canvas,
highlighting the grass of paintknifed green smears
with a touch of blue,
making a river
where there was none before,
a deer
with expert daubs of gold and tan,
the lettuce, sesame seed buns, tomatoes,
cheese, and beef,
are packaged masterfully,
art in a brown bag,
paper-thin and crinkly,
with brushstrokes of grease,
and ketchup packets thrown inside
in dashes.

we drive off with Bob’s latest masterpiece
drawn with loving care
in just an instant,
with the flick of a wrist.

with a palette,
even of premade ingredients,
we can be our own artists,
using unique gifts of sight,
each perspective an artistic vision,
to find enlightenment
in the everyday.

there’s been many a doomsday prophet,
but how many are there
who simply celebrate
the time and life they’re given,
like Bob Ross,
who works at Burger King?


the day my sister was born,
my grandmother helped me put on my socks.
they were the kind I didn’t particularly like,
with lace collars at the scruff
around my ankles, they scratched.
I was preparing to be introduced
to someone who’d impact
my existence immeasurably, ineffably.

the night before, dad and I were waiting
watching, and wondering
at how the baboons on tv
crossed rivers by leaping
on the backs of hippos
like they were only stepping stones,
like lily pads in a pond painted by Monet,
nature documentaries tended to teach me
the most delightfully unexpected things,
and so would my new sibling,
who interrupted the program,
a showstopper already,
when my dad got the call
to go to the hospital and be with my mom,
my sister was coming,
and so was my grandmother, to join me
through my last night as an only child.

change was uneasy, like a jarred cocoon
on the edge of eruption
into some fresh stage of being,
like risen bread,
meeting the occasion,
but having to be patient
before that grand moment
could at last arrive,
so I itched at my too-tight socks in the meantime,
not yet five, but learning
what it would really mean
to greet a new life.

I remember fifth grade,
releasing the butterflies we raised
by the woods past the playground
and the kickball field
where I was always the last pick,
the side-effect of being non-athletic,
watching these tongues of fire
flash brilliantly in the endless blue
blanket of sky, unraveled by their flame
of hope that no dome can hold.

and when our souls met,
when we chose each other
as best friends, eternally,
there was no chrysalis anymore
to contain the growing beauty
of what is everlasting,
only the expanse of possibility
to travel together,
so that even in the unfamiliar,
we forever have each other-

you always knew the way,
remembered the routes
to anywhere, with your GPS brain,
you would love an atlas for a gift
just like I’d love a dictionary,
numbers and words,
both pathfinders, I’m not surprised
we wound up being sisters,
and though I may be the oldest, the leader,
I know I can count on you
to be by my side.

Sliver of a Second

The sky is an ashy, gray-edged heather rug of purple
Tasseled with a silver-white moon,
Curled in the shape of a sleeping cat,
Or a woman at a window seat,
Watching the world go by,
A pregnant belly of sky before her,
Time and space ballooning
In the crevices between night and day
Like late violets blooming,
Between the marble-colored evening star
Already risen
And the yellow-orange flinty stretch
Of life and daylight still flaming
Across the horizon,
Coppering the fields
That have known the touch of frost
So early in the season.

The moon is hung like a peg
Between trees, frayed and ropy
As twine, the hue of black licorice,
Moss and curtains of snarly branch braids
Hanging down like children from playground monkey bars.
I still see the moon peeking through
This semi-circle Palladian window,
Watching the world go by
As we return its gaze,
Looking back
At a slice so close
To being slivered away,
Like a splinter of wood in your finger,
Extracted quietly, delicately,
At the end of a summer’s day
Before you slowly slip into sleep,
Soon, this shiver of light, a quiver of soft white moonglow,
Will be washed away like rare seaglass after a storm,
Absorbed somewhere into the depths of sand and water,
An ocean of what was,
And what promises to be again.

Still, I see the sunset’s watery signature,
Letters half-erased
As though by tears
Before they were sent to the post,
Through rotting, falling beams of a barn,
Grateful to have seen it once,
The unrepeatable song,
The colors that can’t be replicated
No matter how many times you mix a new palette,
Glancing at your key,
Boxes of chroma, prisms of a code
You try to unlock each time you pick new paints,
But are happy to discover
Even just a single time,
Because that hope existed for a sliver
Still embedded in your dreams.
Remember that joy of finding color amidst the gray
As you drift off to sleep.

KATHRYN SADAKIERSKI’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and literary journals around the world, including Critical Read, Freshwater Literary Journal, Halfway Down the Stairs, New Feathers Anthology, NewPages Blog, Silkworm, The Parliament Literary Journal, Toyon Literary Magazine, and Voices de la Luna. Her micro-chapbook Travels through New York was published by Origami Poems Project (2020). She holds a B.A. and M.S. from Bay Path University.